Not Mentioned in Despatches: The History and Mythology of the Battle of Goose Green
Although much has been written about the battle of Goose Green during the Falklands War, never before have its events been dissected so thoroughly and objectively, nor illuminated so clearly in the terms of current debate in NATO armies on tactical command systems as in this book. The British success at Goose Green was described by the then-Chief of the General Staff as 'a feat of arms and gallantry probably unsurpassed in the glorious history of the British army'; how true a picture is given by such descriptions, both official and unofficial' Using factual analysis and in-depth interviews with participants, the author demonstrates that the battle in fact highlighted serious flaws in the British army's command culture. His knowledge of recent attempts to reform the army's command system, and of the ongoing tactics debate, allows Fitz-Gibbon to elucidate the two basic models of command system identifiable in the Falklands war. 'Restrictive control', traditionally preferred in the British army and still the accepted doctrine in 1982, holds that military action can be planned in detail in advance and expected to run according to plan as long as subordinates merely obey their orders. 'Directive command', on the contrary, recognises that the chaos of battle cannot be controlled without overwhelming material superiority, and therefore seeks to establish a more flexible system within the framework of an overall plan. Applying this distinction to Goose Green, Fitz-Gibbon shows that the British achieved much greater success when departing from the army's usual methodology - after the death of H Jones - than when adhering to the practices taught at officer training establishments. The worrying conclusion drawn from this assessment is that inaccurate reporting, and the unquestioning glorification of its performance, have hindered the army's efforts at modernising its command system, with serious consequences in past wars, and for future conflicts. This very readable book offers fascinating insights into how history is written and how armies often fail to learn from their experiences.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
PRELIMINARIES TO BATTLE
COLONEL JONES PLAN AND ORDERS
B COMPANY ASSAULT BURNTSIDE HILL
A COMPANY ADVANCE ACROSS CORONATION POINT
A COMPANY APPROACH DARWIN
B COMPANY APPROACH BOCA HILL
THE BIGGER PICTURE
THE ASSAULT AT DARWIN HILL
THE COLLAPSE OF THE DARWIN HILL POSITION
12 Platoon Abols action Adkin advance airfield ammunition Argentinian position artillery assault attack attempt Auftragstaktik Barry Norman battalion battle battlegroup commander Benest Boca House Boca position Brigade British army bunker Burntside House Calvi Camilla Creek casualties Chris Keeble Colonel Jones company commander Company's Coronation Point Coronation Ridge Corporal Crosland D Company Dair Farrar-Hockley Darwin Hill position defence enemy position fact Falklands Falklands war Farrar-Hock fighting flank forward Frost going Goose Green gorse gully gorse line GPMG Hastings and Jenkins helicopters infantry initiative isthmus Keeble killed Lance Corporal Lieutenant machine gun manoeuvre warfare Martin Middlebrook metres Middlebrook Milan military mortar move NCOs officer OODA loop orders Para's Phase platoon commander radio Regiment restrictive control says schoolhouse Schwerpunkt seems Sergeant settlement shot shouting soldiers spur subordinate suggests Sun Tzu surrender tactical Task Force Mercedes trenches troops Weighell white flags